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Adult Glue Ear

I have had a problem with my right ear for two months and have yet to see an ENT specialist. I have little or no pain. What I have is a hissing noise. Sometimes it is very loud, but if I stay still and do not move it quietens down. Luckily at night it is quiet if I keep still and put my right ear against the pillow. Does any one else have these symptoms?

40 Replies

  • Guest Guest


    there aren't many adult posts, I thought I'd share my experience:

    As I write I'm experiencing a 'relapse' and yes there's a bit of a high pitched hiss.....look on the bright side at least I know the blood is still circulating!

    It's not uncommon to 'hear' noises from the circulation in and around the ear along with pops etc as the fluid moves.

    I'm 50 have had a grommit in my left ear for a number of years and periodically get my symptoms back. DON'T PANIC (ok a bit dramatic) if you're pinning your hopes on the ENT surgeon and a grommit. I'm told my eustation tube is damaged and blocked after a bought of flu so drainage is near impossible for me.

    Things you might want to know:

    drainage ops are not uncomfortable nor are grommet ops.

    You'll have a number of injections inside your ear .....sounds scary... don't be it's fine and pretty painless similar to an injection the dentist might give.

    After that the surgeon gets on with it, 'vacuumes' excess liquid from behind the ear drum (having first made an incision) then inserts the grommit,

    Aftercare: the most tedious side of being a grommet wearer is the woolly advise about a proud owner of a hole in your ear drum there's now a route for water to enter your inner ear. Water can carry bacteria.

    I was advised to plug my ear when washing hair etc and then there's swimming do you or don't you? ask your medical team, I was told to avoid getting my head underwater which is quite a challenge in a swimming baths!

    Hope my comments will prove of help.javascript:emoticon('smile'wink

  • Guest Guest


    You're not the only one who suffers. I'm in my mid 30s and woke up one morning with no hearing in my right ear. I haven't had a cold, am fairly healthy, don't work in a noisy environment, haven't had anything explode near me and don't swim. I just can't hear !

    I've got the continual hissing noise - which doesn't alter at all, night or day. I sometimes get a sloshing noise in my left ear which goes away if I rub it.

    The hearing seems to be getting worse as time goes on.

    I'm due to see ENT in a few weeks. I'm hoping its nothing more than adult glue ear as the other options look a bit more worrying !

  • Guest Guest

    I'm hoping I might be able to get some advice on what to do as I've had gluey ear since being a child and am now in my late 30s. I had grommits put in as a child which always seemed to do the trick but it was never resolved. Since having my two children was then also diagnosed with having ME and my hearing has got worse. No one has ever since been able to give me any help as such and am now worried that the damage has been done. I am desperate to find out whether there is anything that can be done now as I have had it so long or whether it's too late to rectify. I feel let down by the NHS and may not actually have ME at all. I am wondereing if all my systoms may all be an effect from the guey ears. Can anybody help?!!

    • jennyD82 jennyD82 Guest

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  • tml tml

    I have had ear infections on and off since I was a child (am now 42) and now have been told I am slightly deaf because of it. I was finallly referred to ENT consultant in August this year and have been on a nasal spray, been back to gp today with another ear infection and he is writing to the consultant to bring my appointment forward to hopefully get gromits, This gp is the first ever not to just fob me off with antibiotics and to try and sort the problem.

  • anthony5 anthony5

    I am 24 years old and have been suffering with glue ear since around the age of 16 after several bouts of cold/flu like viruses one winter.

    Fortunately I have never suffered with the hissing noises but I am almost completely deaf in my left ear. I was treated with a grommit when I was about 18, the operation was 'successful' and I left hospital the same day with complete restoration of my hearing which was great.

    The warning I would give however is that I was informed grommits are around 25% successful in permanently getting rid of glue ear. After around 9 months the grommit falls out naturally, within 3 months of this the glue ear had returned as before. The warning hear being do not assume grommits will fix you for life because clearly they do not always work and although the operation is completely painless general anaesthetic is something I would rather avoid unless certain it is worthwhile.

    Frustrated that the grommit didn't work I have just put up with it since and have just found/purchased Otovent to see if that will work - my feelings are it may not be powerful enough as a treatment for long term adult glue ear (seems to be advertised for children mostly) but fingers crossed.

    • leila29439 leila29439 anthony5

      Hi Anthony

      I just had a really bad flu that ended with an inner ear infection.  2 rounds of antibiotics and 2 rounds of penicilin didn't help with the deathness, popping, crackling, etc.

      Yesterday I went to the doc and he tested my ears with a musical tuning fork. I could barely hear it with my death ear and could mostly hear it with my "good' ha ha ear. Then he put the tuning fork in the centre of my forehead and I could hear it clear as a bell with my death ear ( first thing I had heard in weeks) and could barely hear it with my "good" ear.  Within seconds I was swallowing yucky stuff.

      My ears continued to drain for 8 hours with 2 major mouthfulls and 2 very significant dizzy spells.

      I have ordered a tuning fork and will treat myself when it turns up next week.

      I looked for info about sound waves draining ear fluid but couldn't find anything.

      I hope this helps and wish my doc had tried it weeks ago.

    • jennyD82 jennyD82 anthony5

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    • sarah 75980 sarah 75980 leila29439

      Hi Leila

      I'm really interested in getting this tunning fork but I don't know what I'm looking for not am I sure or how to use it.

      Would you be able to send me a picture and a link to where I can buy it please?

      Also if you are aware of any link on YouTube or web page that can help me see how it should be used, I'd be really grateful.

      Thank you in advance


    • rb8163 rb8163 leila29439


      My Son has the sever hearing problem. Doctor said that, he may have infection in inner ear. Very much appreciated if you let me konw the solution to solve inner ear infection.

  • lesley73727 lesley73727

    I have had glue ear since June last year following an ear infection and am now waiting to see the ENT guy, However, I was interested in how you had progressed with the Otovent which you had just purchased and

    whether this had proved successful or not.

  • lesile lesile Guest

    Hi. I have only just come across this forum. I was diagnosed with glue ear when I was 38. I am now 60 and am still receiving treatment. I iniatially had grommets and then t-tubes. One of them came out after 15 years so they are pretty permanent. I still have one intact. I now have reduced hearing in one ear.

    Over the years I have had a lot of ear infections but I have been lucky that I have a good GP and i go for yearly check ups at hospital. Anybody out there with long term glue ear condition.

    • Fran4567 Fran4567 lesile

      I'm 53 and I'm presently suffering with glue ear. My consultant tells me my eardrums are too thin to insert grommets and that I have perforated eardrums! I am however on route to receive hearing aids as my hearing isn't good! Although I've had this problem all of my life it's only in the last 8 years or so that something has been done about it...prob because I moved house and changed GP/surgery! I'm more knowledgable now as in the past I thought I was having bad head colds that lasted forever!! 

    • lesile lesile Fran4567

      Hi fran

      I never knew that adults could get glue ear when I was diagnosed. Luckily I had a good GP who referred me to a consultant. It is a shame you cannot have grommits as they did work. Good luck with the hearing aids. I think I will be on that route soon as my hearing is decreasing on one side.

  • christophe67505 christophe67505 Guest

    Hello all,this is my first visit and would welcome any feedback. I am 44 yes, male and have been unable to work for a decade due to insomnia and related anxiety. I have been trying to find an anwser all this time and recently received my doctors notes.I suffered tremendous ear trauma in late teens following an attack .Unknown to myself there was very minor treatment for glue ear(a balloon of sorts) since then I have always felt as though I'm underwater with muffled hearing, frequently infected ears and throat and chronic depression leading to self medication as my gp does not help. I am now sure this is otitis media. Can anyone suggest the fastest route to drain middle ear,I'm even close to inserting a grommet myself however,although I'm an engineer I'm not a medic,just very frustrated as I thought it was how everyone felt,now I realise it is not normal and i may have lost decades of life,please advise, private treatment is possible but I have no idea where to start and live a reclusive lifestyle

    • lesile lesile christophe67505

      Hi Christopher. Not sure if you are in UK but when I had my symptoms initially I was back and forewords to the GPs. In the end I asked to be referred privately. Straight away they diagnosed glue ear and I then had grommets fitted. 2 years later I had t tubes fitted which are permanent.

      i still have problems 15years later but not to the degree I did . My advice is to ask for second opinion. There is no harm in asking. It is very isolating when you get the muffled hearing as you cannot pitch the tone of yr voice.

      good luck 


    • kimpy kimpy lesile

      hey Leslie, hoping you can help me with some ideas- My 43 year old bro has just been diagnosed with glue ear and the suggestion is to put in grommets, he had them when very young but I cant remember much about it. He has been deaf a lot of his lfe and wearing hearing aids for years now. This is the first time glue ear has been suggested, any thoughts.

  • sardine sardine Guest

    I have had glue ear since 2006 so 10 years now. I got it in college when I took a scuba class. Worst decision of my life. Its amazing how one simple choice can alter your life forever. I ended up coughing under the water and shoving nasty pool water into my ears via eustation tube. I got a double ear infection and like a dumb a** only took about 5 of the steroids before quitting them. They made my bladder feel like it was going to burst so I stopped taking them. Well I am pretty sure I now have an auto immune disorder now and having a pregnancy with preeclampsia didnt help either. If I could just get this glue ear fixed once and for all my life would be so... it would be so amazing again. I have been to so many ent doctors that I am convinced they are all nasal spray salesmen. None of them actually diagnosed me with glue ear but I know thats what I have. Full ears, gross glue feeling like mucus in there. I wish someone would just stick grommets in and flush my ears out then pump some oxygen in there for a few months. I read in a very very old article that oxygen helps the tissue repair itself but you need grommets. I really wish someone had a solution for me. This is torture.

    • bjhogg bjhogg sardine

      It does hit you like a hissing brick! Im a 61 yr old man who never had any

      Problems with my ears. Im also a trained diver so was always used to clearing my ears to

      Equalise the pressure. Now my gp has given me a nasal spray and a balloon !? Dont know wether to laugh or cry.

      The muffled hearing and noise comes and goes but i dread it getting worse. Im an actor by profession so it makes my work

      Harder. I do hope your symptoms abate soon

      Regards from Northern Ireland

      BJ Hogg

    • sardine sardine bjhogg


      Northern Ireland! Wow that sounds nice. I'm from Arizona and can you believe it's still hot here. I have found the balloons push more junk in the ears. This has crushed my dreams of being an underwater archaeologists. I went to Rome a few years back and my ear problem made it impossible to equalize the pressure, not to mention I had a cold too. My ears didn't pop the whole way down to land! It was so painful and I didn't equalize pressure for two days!

      Best of luck to you


  • leila29439 leila29439 Guest

    Hi guest

    I had a really bad flu that ended in an ear infection.  2 rounds of antibiotics and 2 rounds of penicilin didn't help the deathness, popping, crackling etc.

    Yesterday I went to the doc and he tested my hearing with a musical tuning fork I could barely hear it with my death ear and mostly hear it with my "good" ear. Then he put the tuning fork in the centre of my forehead and I could hear it clear as a bell in my death ear (first thing I had heard in weeks) and could barely hear it in my "good" ear,  Within seconds I was swallowing yucky stuff.

    My ears continued to drain for 8 hours with 2 major mouthfulls and 2 very significant dizzy spells.

    Today my ears aren't completely better but there is a 80% improvement.

    I have ordered my own tuning fork and will treat myself again when it turns up next week.

    I looked online for sound waves draining ear fluid but couldn't find anything.

    I hope this helps and wish my doc had tried it weeks ago.

  • lorraine15646 lorraine15646 Guest

    Hello, i have had this most of my life,, its inner ear congestion and Sudafed or Inhaling Vicks is the best way to treat it... the doctors will onlysend you for dozens of try this first..then see a doctor..use a bowl and pour hot water in to it then a big glob of Vicks then inhale till the ear works for me.biggrin I still get it due to having small inner ear tubes.

  • jody1991 jody1991 Guest

    I'm 25 and suffered with adult glue ear for over 3years. Iv used antihistamines, decongestant tablets, nasel sprays and anything else the gphone has recommended and they still won't refer me to ENT specialist. The gp told me it's definitely adult glue ear and was going to refer me. She went and got anot her opinion and that doctor said not to refer me. I'm in absolute agony in both my ears and pain killers and anti inflammatorys aren't touching it. How do I go about being referred?

  • lisalisa67 lisalisa67 Guest

    I have a fluttering wakes me from sleep the last two weeks. Unsure what it is. Hissing can probably be masked by a fan. Try steam and out in a couole of drop of eucalyptus oil.  Breaks it up over a span of time. 

  • kim28390 kim28390 Guest

    Hi, just wondering if anyone else has had vertigo as well? It seems to be Ruling a huge part of my life at the moment with the glue ear in both of my ears & the vertigo is driving me crazy! To top it off though my doc said it is a year long waiting list the see the ent 😢

  • peter49041 peter49041 Guest

    hi i had glue ear around 20 years ago had it for years when doctors kept cleaning my ears and outer ears syringed i still had the problem and doctors said must be the other side of my ear drum (glue ear)anyway i thought if its wax, wax melts when warm so i got in the bath ran it hot and put ears under water when used to POSSIBLE CURE FOR GLUE EAR HOPE IT WORKS FOR YOU

    the heat i mpt more hot water again, i did this 5 or 6 times after about half an hour i felt the wax running down the back of my throth this was 20 years ago and never had a problem since. heated pads on the ears might work just as well but not sure


    Please let me know if this works for you

  • Peaches6620 Peaches6620 Guest

    I have been suffering from a blocked ear for almost 6 months. ENT confirmed glue ear and suggested grommet insertion as I've been using otovent with intermittent short lived relief as I can pop my ear using the vasalva manoeuvre. I was fearing flying with the pressure changes since going on the Eurostar didn't help with pressure changes but... To my surprise, as long as you're able to keep popping your ears while the plane is climbing and descending, it is possible to equalise the pressure in the ear. I also used a clear ear earplug that helped draw water out. Amazingly, My ear has been clear for the last 24hrs and I haven't had to pop it. It feels normal again but will of course see the ENT again to confirm.

  • morris92618 morris92618 Guest

    Hi All

    My glue ear resolved itself after I ate garlic.

    I crunched on a couple of cloves of garlic.

    ​The garlic was very hot and burned the back of my throat.

    ​It is worth trying at least once.

    ​Worked for me !


  • Peaches6620 Peaches6620 Guest

    Though I would add, the consultant said glue ear is not common amongst adults so he thoroughly recommends if your GP does suspect it and notice liquid behind your ear drum, to insist that they or that they refer you to get an view of your inner workings of your nose just to rule out any nasal polyps or more complex conditions affecting your nasopharynx. Even if you feel perfectly fine without any cold symptoms.

  • Peaches6620 Peaches6620 Guest

    also ask the GP yup check your lymph nodes and if they've been swollen for an extended period and especially if you haven't got other cold symptoms, don't let them tell you it's a low grade infection and go away. Swollen lymph nodes can be concerning but only after seeing 3 GPs did I get an urgent referral to see a haematologist. Had to fight for a letter to get a private ENT referral which moves much faster and if it's anything more sinister, it does pay to move quickly. Glue ear can be associated with a rare cancer of the nasopharynx with symptoms most would discount as tiredness and poor hearing from getting older. Hence it's also often diagnosed as late stage. If you feel it isn't right, even if you look the picture of perfect health, Insist on a referral. The first gp actually told me she has glue ear and just lives with it and I should do the same! No need to bother the ENT consultants!


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